A few weeks ago I was inspired with an idea from Havenly, an online site with interior designers and decorators to serve you. It’s a convenient, personal and affordable way to redecorate your home room by room. You can collaborate with professional interior designers on an online platform and they will work with you to decorate your home. I checked it out and it looks really cool! You can read a profile on each designer and pick one that fits your style and needs the best. If you are looking for someone to help you with your home, this is the perfect place to go.
I was asked to write a post about a piece of family history that I have and how I use it in my home. I showed you this vintage trunk before and now I thought I would tell you the story behind it. Here goes a little history lesson.
Mary Amelia Thomas Goodrich traveled with her family from Wisconsin to Leadville, Co., where she met her husband Elliot Goodrich. From Leadville, they traveled to Aspen, Co., where they crossed Independence Pass. They eventually moved to an area of Aspen called Oklahoma Flats. I received this map of Aspen, Co. from my mom for my birthday. It was given to her by Aunt Hazel, the same aunt who had the trunk. The map is dated 1893. The arrow on the second picture points to where we believe Oklahoma Flats was located.
Elliot was a miner, who would go up into the mountains and work. Mary Amelia, washed clothing for the Chinese railroad workers that worked in the area. There are stories about her crossing the river on the railroad trestle to deliver clothing, once even crossing while a train was barreling down the tracks! They also lived on a dairy, but we aren’t sure if that meant 4 cows, or many cows, or if they even owned the dairy. They had 5 children, the oldest was Anna. She married Peter Kelsey in 1901 and my grandmother, Amelia was born here in 1903.
When Amelia was just a year old, the family moved to Grand Valley, Co., which is now called Parachute. My great-grandparents would take any kind of job to earn money for their little family. While living here, a second daughter, Velma, was born, in 1905.
The family moved again, looking for a better life and headed further west. The stopped in Yarington, NV., where a third daughter, Hazel, was born in 1910. Less than a year later, in 1911, they traveled on, crossing over Donner Pass in their horse and open wagon. I can’t even imagine traveling with three small children, including an infant. While traveling through this area, a silver spoon was found. It reads Reno, NV. and Scenes of the Truckee is printed on the cup of the spoon.
Another story passed on by grandma-it was pouring down rain and her father stopped at a cabin to ask if they had a place where they could stay and get out of the rain. The man who answered the door was an Indian! He told them they could sleep right inside the cabin. My grandma remembered small chunks of mud falling down on them from the roof because the rain was coming down so hard. I wonder if her parents slept with one eye open that night!
They stopped again in Placerville where they worked until they could get enough money to move on. Anna worked at a motel and Velma remembered there were dishes of candy all around the motel for the guests. Velma did this in her own home later because of her memories of this time. Finally, the family traveled through Sacramento and ended up here in the Central Valley, near Grangeville. They camped in an apricot orchard and worked there too.
They eventually moved to a place called The Island and lived in a small shack. My great-grandfather was trying to get a job as a ditch-tender, but had heard nothing. He finally told my great-grandmother that when he returned home that day from his work, they would get ready to leave and move on. When he came home from work, there was a note on the table, saying he got the job as the ditch-tender! The family was able to move into a nicer house right near the river. My great-grandfather would go to each weir, where water is controlled, and he would change the levers depending on how much water is let out and which way it should go.
My Aunt Hazel, the youngest, ended up with the trunk and then gave it to my mom. She finally passed it on to me. I now have my wedding dishes stored in it. I keep it in my living room. I love having a piece of history in my home and sharing the story with the visitors to my home. It’s fun to imagine what kind of things were carried in here and how far the trunk traveled. I’m sure there were some special family mementos, plus clothing and other household items. It’s an honor to have such a piece. Thank you Havenly for giving me the opportunity to write about my family history!
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